Celebrity chef Derry Clarke swaps his chef’s jacket for lycra as he takes on Westport Gran Fondo for Pieta House

Westport Gran Fondo is the latest cycle challenge to hit the headlines for the picturesque town in Mayo. This one day cycling event is the first of its kind in the Republic of Ireland and Westport Gran Fondo aims to become one of the largest cycle events in the country, mixing people's love of cycling with the amazing social aspect of the beautiful town of Westport. Gran Fondo means many things to many people but loosely translated, it means everything from “great foundation”, “great distance” or “great endurance”. It can be a full-on race, or just a ride and this is what makes it different.

There are two events tailored for all abilities in the Gran Fondo at 122km and Medio Fondo at 70km. Both events are timed and include the Sheffrey Mountains which is one of the most beautiful climbs in the country. The event offers two exciting routes for the cycling pros and newbies.

Some cyclists will ride for the satisfaction and pride of just making it to the finish line. Others will want to compete against each other, the clock, and themselves in a personal endurance challenge. And there are those who are out to win it.

The event organisers said they were delighted to work with Pieta House as the charity partner for Westport Gran Fondo, and taking on the challenge for Pieta House is professional chef and proprietor of L'Ecrivain Restaurant, Derry Clarke, who said: “I am delighted to be associated with the event and the charity partner Pieta House who provide an amazing service and assist so many people throughout the country”

From humble beginnings, Pieta House has grown to almost 180 therapists and administration staff, and the demand for the service has not let up. To that end, in 2015 alone, in excess of 5,000 people came through the doors suffering from suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm. With centres throughout the country the organisers are absolutely delighted to welcome the opportunity to work with Pieta House and support this vital service. To book your place and be part of one of Ireland’s largest cycling events log on to www.westportgranfondo.ie or follow Westport Gran Fondo on Facebook and Twitter for all updates.

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